Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has welcomed the government’s consideration of a Discretionary Fund to support households struggling with energy costs, and has called for this to be established urgently.
Sinn Féin introduced the proposal for the establishment of a Discretionary Fund within a Dáil Motion to support households with mounting energy bills in February last year. The proposal has repeatedly been raised with the Minister and formed part of our Alternative Budget for 2022. This is something that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul have also been calling for.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“We are hearing more and more about the cost of living crisis every day, and action from the government is needed.
“I raised this with the Tánaiste today in the Dáil and suggested that further measures are needed to support households, beyond the announced €100 electricity support payment.
“He agreed our proposal on the establishment of a Discretionary Fund is a good idea and advised that Minister Humphreys is looking at this as part of a package of measures from the government.
“We have been raising this matter for almost a year now and have repeatedly called for a Discretionary Fund to support households struggling with rising energy costs.
“While I welcome him suggesting that the Fund is one of the measures the Minister is considering to assist with the cost of living crisis, I am now urging her to put it in place with urgency.
“I am glad to see the penny is dropping with the government on how seriously many workers and families are struggling with soaring costs, but too much time has been wasted already.
“Sinn Féin have been putting forward this proposal for almost a year. In November, we published our cost of living survey results and put forward a range of proposals that would help households now, not later.
“Our survey found that 93% of respondents have had significant rises in heating and electricity costs, and 76% are very concerned about the rising cost of living.
“The sooner households can avail of much-needed supports the better. I am calling on the government to take action and implement the Discretionary Fund with urgency.”